Name: Quinn Ballard
Hometown: Huntington, WV
Favorite thing about Nashville: The people. It’s the place I found that the best friendships are based on heart and personality and happen when we let ourselves just be real with others. The messy, the fun, the interesting, the good, and everything in between. Sometimes that’s scary, but it’s worth it.
Real life can't happen when we put on an act, close ourselves off, or spend our time trying to fit into whatever “cool kid” box we’ve made up in our heads (and it’s all in our heads). Everyone is trying to figure out how to be a person.
Current occupation: Full-time architecture/interior/restaurant photographer. It came out of nowhere nine years ago, and it’s been both a great and a huge learning experience. I’m drawn way more to how a place can make you feel and how it can affect you and others instead of just the whole process of taking pictures. Helping architects and designers show off the stuff they’ve made for others is something I’ve grown to like a lot. But for me, the pictures aren’t the point – they’re just a means to point to something else that matters. I want to do what I do well, obviously, but I never want to forget why I’m doing it or just get lost only in the process of it.
I’ve learned a lot about me through it, and I’ve been shifting the whole photo thing into something that can help fund other stuff I’m more wired to do. Mainly, it’s acting and talking and learning how to be an ear for others, as a way to help people not be so hard on themselves, or to remember that life can be so fun and so meaningful at the same time. Those things won’t make the hard stuff just disappear, but they can help make the hard stuff not feel as lonely or isolating.
People need other people, and that’s both amazing and scary. But no matter what, it’s gotta be real. I want to a be a bridge to help others live a little more deeply, in whatever way I can. I’m figuring that out as I go, I’m asking others who are wiser than me a lot of questions, I don't (and I won’t) have all the answers, and I’ve got just as much stuff to work through as anyone else. But if it helps someone to breathe a little easier or laugh a little harder or make a step over something that’s been tripping them up, I want to be a part of that.
Dream occupation: A Muppeteer. 100%. Jim Henson’s a hero. He’s not just the guy who made Kermit or The Labyrinthmovie – he wanted to leave the world a better place. One of my favorite things he said was, "The most sophisticated people I know – inside they’re all children.” Google some of the things he said and wrote…it can really put stuff in a new perspective.
If you could live inside any film, which would you choose? What Dreams May Come – a Robin Williams throwback
If you could move to another country, which one would it be? Iceland with all the other millennials. Not really. The U.K., or really – London. It’s so diverse and people from all over the world live there and shape it together. It’s got so much history, but it’s also new and transforming and always growing. The British national dish is chicken tikka masala, which is A) delicious, and B) proof of how other cultures have influenced a single country for the better. Yes, there was the Brexit mess, but you can’t win them all.
Tell us about your hair!
It’s been short, it’s been long, it’s been buzzed, it’s been asymmetrical, it’s been chopped up, it’s been messy, it’s been skinfaded, it’s been clean part on the side, it’s been just about everything. LH (Brian, Joe, and even KP back in the day) helped me see that I’m not defined by my hair. I know that sounds like the old school India.Arie song, but it’s true and she was right.
If anything, a cut helps uncover parts of someone’s personality.
Almost every other time I get my hair cut we change it up to something completely different. Those are the days I'll go in, not have a clue how I want to change up my style, we’ll figure it out or just see what starts to take shape, and I'll walk out with something totally new and think, “This is so different than what my hair was like an hour ago, but it's still very much ‘me’.” I trust them completely, especially when the cut is changed up. It’s always great because it’s always me, and I like that. And that’s something LH does better than anyone else.